Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Early Season Botany

Things are finally really starting to happen: I had my first butterflies of the season recently, new birds are coming back every day, and today I had my first blooming wildflowers of the season. Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara) is a non-native species, but a very welcome one in my opinion, as it is one of the very first wildflowers to come up in spring. The flower emerges before the leaves.

Trout lilies (Erythronium sp.) are one of our most characteristic spring forest flowers. Although for the most part I haven't found any new leaves coming up, there is one exception. This firepit has been in use almost continuously for the last few weeks, and the heat has induced an early emergence for a number of trout lily leaves.

Of course, most of our trees also produce flowers, and several maples are very early bloomers. These flowers belong to Silver Maple (Acer saccharinum).

A number of our ferns are evergreen, and on a recent hike along the Niagara Escarpment I found a couple characteristic species of this formation.

Maidenhair Spleenwort (Asplenium trichomanes)

Walking Fern (Asplenium rhizophyllum)

Despite their radically different appearance, these two ferns are in the same genus. According to the Peterson Guide to ferns of the Northeast, these species do not hybridise, but each will hybridise with a third species, Ebony Spleenwort (Asplenium platyneuron).

Not long until our forests and fields turn green again!

No comments:

Post a Comment